The recent announcement of the Biden Administration’s eagerness to launch a COVID-19 “vaccine passport” has been alarming; federal officials have identified at least 17 separate projects all working on developing standards and technology to track people’s vaccination status for purposes of travel and business.
The Governor of Florida’s response has been most visible, as he has been quite vocal:
“We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said on Monday. “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”
Though not as vocal, Utah leaders have pre-emptively ruled out the passport project in the Beehive State. Representative Robert Spendlove sponsored House Bill 308 earlier this year which prohibits a governmental entity—including state agencies, local governments, and public schools—from requiring, either “directly or indirectly,” that an individual receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The bill passed almost unanimously and has since been signed into law by Governor Spencer Cox.
In short, Utah is opting out of any “vaccine passport” programs; no such document or database can be utilized as a condition of legal commerce or intrastate travel in the state.
That being said, businesses retain the right to only employ people or serve customers who furnish such a passport (though one can easily argue that this would be economically disadvantageous). And the federal government could impose such a mandate on air travel, requiring the use of such passports at the airport before boarding.
But the viability of these massive projects substantially decreases if states do not utilize them for everyday commerce. At a minimum, Utahns can rest assured that their state and local governments will not be utilizing such a program or demanding individuals furnish their health papers in order to go about their daily life.